Michigan State coach Izzo and guard Harris look on in the final minute of their loss to Duke during the Midwest Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Indianapolis

Saturday’s Pregame Shootaround: Michigan State faces another neutral-site test

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 1 Michigan State vs. Oklahoma, 9:30 p.m. (TruTV) 

The Spartans face another early-season neutral-site game against 4-0 Oklahoma in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The No. 1 team in America is still 5-0 and as long as point guard Keith Appling continues to play at a high level, the Spartans are talented and balanced enough to remain unbeaten.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: Mississippi State at Utah State, 9:05 p.m. 

A couple of unbeatens clash as an SEC school heads into Utah State, which is one of the toughest environments in college basketball. Its an interesting early-season nonconference game that the mid-major program will be heavily favored.

MID-MAJOR MATCHUP OF THE DAY: Fresno State at Pacific, 10:30 p.m.

If you are in the mood for some late-night hoops, check out this enticing mid-major contest between Fresno State and Pacific. New head coach Ron Verlin has the Tigers undefeated at 3-0 and they’ll be tested by their talented interstate rival, Fresno State.


1) The No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers take the floor against Oral Roberts after scoring 103 points in a win over North Dakota and 88 points in a win over Bowling Green. How does Wisconsin follow that up and will their offense keep rolling?

2) North Carolina is still ranked after last week’s home loss to Belmont, coming in at No. 24. How do the Tar Heels respond against a solid Richmond team?

3) Although Oklahoma and Michigan State is the marquee matchup of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, the undercard of Seton Hall and Virginia Tech is a battle of 3-2 teams looking for a solid win on a neutral court. Virginia Tech is still meshing with forward C.J. Barksdale after his suspension so that will be a development to track as well.

4) New Mexico State is the favorite in the heavily re-done WAC and one of their key nonconference games comes at UTEP on Saturday night. Tim Floyd’s team is talented and should give the Aggies a great test.

5) Louisville should handle Fairfield, but they are still getting some pieces in place as Chane Behanan and Luke Hancock continue to adjust to game speed and playing with some of the Cardinals new pieces. On a neutral site in a tournament setting, is Louisville going to show us what they’re fully capable of?


  • Fairfield vs. No. 3 Louisville, 2:00 p.m.
  • Nicholls State at No. 11 Memphis, 6:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Oral Roberts vs. No. 12 Wisconsin, 8:30 p.m. (BTN)
  • Tulsa at No. 23 Creighton, 3:30 p.m. (FSN)
  • Richmond vs. No. 24 North Carolina, 11:00 a.m.


  • William & Mary at Rutgers, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Butler vs. Ball State, 2:00 p.m.
  • Gardner-Webb vs. Missouri, 3:30 p.m.
  • Seton Hall vs. Virginia Tech, 7:00 p.m. (TruTV)
  • New Mexico State at UTEP, 9:05 p.m.

POSTERIZED: Jaylen Brown throws down hard in transition

Albert Almanza, Jaylen Brown, Jalin Barnes
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Jaylen Brown is a top five player in the Class of 2015 and a kid projected as a top ten pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.


Because he does things like this:

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Denzel Valentine, the nation’s best player?

Denzel Valentine
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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(This will be updated throughout the day.)

GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67

The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?


Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: 32 points, nine boards, six assists

No. 3 Michigan State beat Boise State 77-67 in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy out in California, but the result of that game is less important than the result of Valentine’s night. A night after notching his second triple-double of the season, Valentine took over another way on Friday, hitting five straight threes in the span of about five minutes to put the Spartans up double-figures in a game they were struggling to take control of.

In three games against high-major competition, Valentine is now averaging 30.0 points, 10.7 boards and 9.3 assists. He has been, unequivocally, the best player in college basketball this season.

No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.

Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.

No. 17 Notre Dame 68, Iowa 62: The Fighting Irish blew a 15-point second half lead, but the comeback gassed the Hawkeyes, as Notre Dame was able to pull away down the stretch. V.J. Beachem led the way with 16 points.


Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.

Cat Barber, N.C. State: Barber notched a career-high 37 points to go along with eight assists as the Wolfpack fought off a scrappy Winthrop team, 87-79. He wasn’t the best scorer on the floor, though …

Jimmy Gavin, Winthrop: Gavin finished with 38 points. Off the bench. The most incredible part? He was 5-foot-4, 90 pounds as a sophomore due to Crohn’s Disease.

John Egbunu, Florida: Egbunu finished with 17 points, 11 boards and four blocks as the Gators knocked off FGCU, 70-50. Dorian Finney-Smith added 23 points for Florida.


Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.

Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.


  • Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
  • Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
  • No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.
  • Troy Caupain had 17 points and Octavious Ellis added 12 points and nine boards (seven offensive) as No. 24 Cincinnati outlasted Nebraska, 65-61, at the Barclays Center.


  • Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.
  • Taurean Waller-Prince had 25 points to lead Baylor to a win over Arkansas State.
  • Joey King’s 18 points paced five players in double-figures for Minnesota as they knocked off Omaha, 93-90.
  • Caris LeVert had 19 points and Derrick Walton added 13 points and seven assists as the Wolverines beat Texas in the fifth-place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis.